The Mansion of Fun
Hello. It’s Friday again. Although I’m supposed to keep these things light and in the 70s, I feel like an 80s style rant.
Let’s talk about …
The Death of New Wave and the Birth of the Crooner
See I have this theory. People ask What Killed New Wave? and I usually hear Metal, Springsteen, or the fact that you can’t market it. But none of that’s true.
The Crooner killed New Wave.
When Gordon Sumners traded in his jump suit for Versace, when Paul Weller courted Smokey Robinson and a smoking jacket, when Elvis Costello gave up being angry and started singing in multiple keys and octaves… I clocked out.
Paul! We liked The Jam, what was wrong with copping that Kinks sound with an angry edge? Sting! Do you really have to make that verse fit into the meter of an Italian sonnet? And David Byrne – ok, I cut the guy a wide birth ’cause My Life In the Bush of Ghosts is still relevant; responsible for that techno sound Cher and Radiohead have so profited upon – but did you have to started sounding like Antonio Carlos Jobim?
Speaking of fine lines, U2 walks that tightrope in high fashion. Bono, you croon, but you haven’t forgotten how to rock – can you teach these other dilatants some lessons?
This is why I still listen to The Clash, Echo and the Bunnymen… why I just repurchased Two Wheels Good (and yes, YES, I do own a copy of The Blue Nile’s Walk Across The Rooftops – but no Howard Jones: I have limits). It’s why I haven’t touched Look Smart, Zenyatta Mondatta or Speaking in Tongues in over two decades.
There are other signs of hope. XTC grew but never changed their stripes. Squeeze is still fun (though I miss Jools – Eric I hope you’ll weigh in here).
I remember once eating Sunday brunch in New York and sitting next to David Byrne. I don’t know what that means except to segway into the fact that I once ate late night sushi in a Toronto restaurant sitting next to Geddy Lee. What’s my point? Oh yeah, I was thrilled to be sitting next to the shreaker from Rush, not so pleased to be sitting with some crooner-wannabe who I used to idolize.
A few years back it was great to see Joe Jackson abandoning George Gershwin and re-forming the Joe Jackson band (long live Graham Maby). Sting; swallow a little pride and get back with Stewart and Andy – you’ve been treading water for 20 years, that jazz-fusion shit is just that… a big heap of dung. David Byrne, I’ll back off because your last Talking Heads records were crap anyway, but don’t forget your soul – Remain in Light kicks.
And The Clash? Long live The Clash. Every song sounds vital, Joe Strummer’s last record is consistent and listenable.
Who killed New Wave? You did Sting. I hope you’re happy.
Goodbye Lucille #1
Ooh johnny johnny johnny there is time for tears
Ooh johnny johnny johnny you won’t make it any better
Ooh johnny johnny johnny you might well make it worse
Ooh johnny johnny johnny I advise you to forget her
Life’s not complete till your heart’s missed a beat
And you’ll never make it up, or turn back the clock
No you won’t, no you won’t No you won’t, no you won’t
Ooh johnny johnny johnny she is a person too
Ooh johnny johnny johnny she has her own will
Ooh johnny johnny johnny why don’t you join the foreign legion
Ooh johnny johnny johnny you’re still in love with hayley mills